Sunday, April 28, 2013

When they say POLITICS, I say THIS

During family gathering when I was young, my dad and my relatives always talk about politics. They talked with such uproar tone that I overheard it, even I was with a pool of little cousins. I was absolutely clueless and I commented 'I hate politics'. I remembered during Bersih 2.0 because it was a day after my birthday. It fell on a Saturday and I had to miss the gym session. I murmured 'I hate the politician'. Mom told me that he was probably the victim. I didn't understand, I still don't.

I am short of a year to vote. If the general election wasn't brought forward in 2008, I would have been eligible to vote next year. Now, my next vote will be on the year I turn 26. Somehow, even though the political fever is pitch-high with wars of backlash, videos of parody, surge of violence, flags of promotions, etc. I choose to stay politically neutral. One may laugh, or criticise this little girl's immaturity to not choose a political side to stand.

However it is not easy to be neutral. Politics has become the 'IT' topic for these two months. There are conversations in college, on the public bus and LRT, mamak stall, in the car, by the gym bench, over the phone... We also have the media war where it is between the traditional media of newspaper and the modern media of social network. We all know the obvious where traditional media is (highly) selective in providing information and holds a hostile view against one party. On the other hand, the flow of information from the social network is clearly dominated by a group of people with burning fire in their heart, aching to break free from domination.

Statistics and Sociology teach us to be bias-free, and to analyse things with standardisation, reliability, validity and transparency. In which, in my humble point of view, our country lacks all of them with these medias. Flows of information are available at their fingertips with a single swipe. We are conformed by societal norms and values, where we lost our right to free will. Worst still, we are now constrained by social media, where we lost our right to know. Yes, we do have the freedom of speech but to a certain extent. We are far from being a democratic country. We are not allowed to publicly criticised a certain party, where it will turn to a whisper when a party is mentioned in conversation.

During my SPM days with Pendidikan Moral, I remembered clearly the moral value 6.2 is Kebebasan Bersuara. Well, I have a memory thing for, dates, orders and sequences. With strict marking scheme, Moral candidates have to write this definition down, word by word, punctuation by punctuation. 'Kebebasan berucap dan mengeluarkan fikiran dengan batasan tertentu bagi menjaga keselamatan dan ketenteraman' which is translated to the freedom to speak and express ideas to a certain extent to ensure safety and peace. I allow you to judge the validity of Kebebasan Bersuara - the Freedom of Speech.

I recalled one of my life-changing event in February this year. I was watching BBC Live on the plasma TV. It was a US television show where audiences were giving President Obama ratings of his presidential effort. 3 people gave him a F. We wouldn't be able to see this in Malaysia, we wouldn't be able to see much debate between politicians, interactions between parties, let it be a commentary session on leaders by the people.

Campaign advertisements are being carried out in a deceiving way, it makes me wonder if is that kind of social values are what the particular political party trying to promote? Is sabotage or invalid assumption what we should be instilling in the Malaysian culture? During my another life-changing event in March, with a panel of distinguish academics, I was asked about what is the Malaysian culture to be brought forward to the world. I answered our mutual progress as a multi-racial community. But it seems like I would have to change to 'backstabbing with unjustified judgement'.

One of the honourable panel tackled me with questions on politics in Singapore. I didn't have command in Malaysian politics, don't even mention Singapore or international politics. But I read about them somehow, somewhere sometime. I remembered I was commenting on the control of social media by the federal government and the lack of acknowledgement between parties.

Surely one party isn't always right, but does it mean one party is always wrong? We are asked to 'remember the good deeds that have been done'. The 'deeds' were mentioned but not justified. I do believe each state government has certainly done some things right (okay at least one thing right), but I hardly read about acknowledgement of achievements and compliments of effort. Even in gym if a participant doesn't manage to complete the full workout, we pat on his/her shoulder or high five each other as an encouragement. Is this culture of attacking with no remorse or no mercy another culture to be incorporated in us?

One party is criticised for not following one of their promised manifesto, but the particular party has certainly fulfilled other parts of the manifesto which needed to be praised. The other party is criticised for producing budget deficit and deteriorating other races, but surely there is somewhere the party did right, and it should be acknowledged by all with a non-biased view when we analyse progress. Perhaps it is true that people will only remember that one mistake rather than thousand good deeds that have been done. With a silly mistake, one could get sacked from the company after 10 solid years of contribution, not even a warning letter but a 'thou-shalt-not-return' notice in 24 hours, based on a real life story.

I would love to say, somehow this crucial general election has brought some festive atmosphere to the country, which are now wildly decorated in blue and green. It is good (yet sad in some cases) to see people are becoming more politically awared, even youth in their teens. It is also admirable that some creative minds and talents behind their supporting party have come out with promotional videos using the trend of Gwiyomi and cute animation with narrations. These are carried out in a rather amusing and non-violent way, if compared to those campaign advertisements and violent cases during talks.

Perhaps they have not considered 'too much of a good thing is a bad thing' from the Karate Kid, the one which is applicable here is 'too much of one thing can be a bad thing'. Perhaps one party should not be overdoing physical and shallow things, but just be sincere and humble in carrying missions. Sometimes, annoyance is caused when one overdoes things to show desperation and patheticity. And this annoyance can cause hatred in a neutral person or even a supporter.

Education has become so affordable and widely spreaded these days. Due to globalisation and the growth of merit-based capitalist market, tertiary studies have become a must. People are becoming more educated and knowledgable than before. The people can't be fooled anymore. The people are certainly in the position to choose, to judge, to not afraid to act, to obtain information from various sources, to adapt for change.

As a newbie in the political arena, I am not in the position to comment on who is right or who is wrong, who should win or who should lose, what has been done or what should be done. But at most least, I am observing this crucial general election, and will hopefully starting to be an avid follower in my home country politics, and cast a pure vote by myself in 5 years time. I wish my political standpoint is shaped by my own readings or findings, but not through influence of the public.

I search for source of inspirations since young. I see politicians in a way of seeing a role model. What they do reflects their values and cultures. I will choose based on the socio-economic culture that a party is trying to promote as long as it goes along the line of my held principles and not violating my definition of humanity. I would love to see the leaders of Malaysia one day and say 'he or she is my role model, he or she has class, he or she has influenced me, he or she has changed Malaysia to be better nation'.

I look at Michelle Obama, she is one classy woman. I look at Aung San Sung Kyi, she is such a strong political voice. I look at Jose Mujica, and unbelieving that he is one humble and true leader. I look at Evo Morales, and he is a man to look up to. I look at the Soong sisters, and they are legends. I wish I can look up to the Prime Minister and the First Lady of Malaysia, and say they are my trailblazers, where it was defined by Emma Stone as 'one who blazes a trail to be followed by others'.

Though insisting on a neutral voice, I believe my post has somewhat led to a certain angle. I can't help it but to be indirectly influenced by surrounding factors. Whatever turns out on 5th of May, I pray for peace in my country. May the people are in safe hands with peace and harmony. You may be supporting a particular party, let it be green or blue, but do remember we are all Malaysians. There is no need to fight or go against each other.

I hereby apologise if my post offends anyone or oppose any of your views. As quoted by my Sociology tutor, 'I am always wrong', my opinion on this blog post is not necessarily valid.

I shall end this with a rhyme of words, summing up my thoughts on this game:

This is a matter of change or continue,
Such a crucial moment with unsolved issue.
I am drowning in a sea of green and blue,
Seeing the happenings with no absolute clue.
Who will win or lose you can certainly argue,
Vote for them who will bring meaning and value.
Don't be a fool or a joke and just stay true,
May destiny favours the one with virtue.

With a burning fire at heart,
Wen Xin